The Eyes Have Always Had It For Chip Stine

This article originally appeared in the Country ZEST & Style Fall 2023 Edition.

Chip Stine was seriously considering going to dental school until a day more than 40 years ago he’ ll likely never forget. He was in college at the time, and a family friend, Middleburg dentist Gregg Helvey, allowed him to observe a wisdom tooth procedure he was performing on a patient in his office. It may have been routine to Dr. Helvey, but Chip quickly realized that perhaps a different medical pursuit might be a better fit. “I don’t think so:’ was the way Chip described his reaction that fateful day, with just a touch of grimace.

It was a totally different comment and a far more positive look on his face when he spoke about observing another talented medical man in action back then. That would be optometrist Fred Goldberg, founder of the McLean Eye Center, who also invited him to watch an office procedure that was far more to his liking.

Much cleaner;’ Chip said. “No blood, no mask or gloves. I was really impressed:’

Dr. Goldberg had graduated from the prestigious New England College of Optometry in Boston, and highly recommended the school. Not long after, Chip visited and was interviewed by an instructor who really impressed him. While he was there, he also passed an entrance exam that allowed him to attend the school a year earlier than he’d planned.

“I still don’t know how the heck that happened;’ Chip recalled. “But I spent the next four years in Boston. It was a great education, a great experience:’ And a memorable last night in Boston, as well. His younger brother, Scott, was staying in his room, and they shared a bunk bed. Big brother Chip got the bottom bed, of course, with Scott on top.

For a while.

That night, the top bunk and Scott collapsed onto the bottom bunk and Chip, and the brothers have been laughing about it ever since.

They are extremely close, of course. Scott owns the Upper Crust bakery, and right next door is the log cabin headquarters of Chip’s bustling Middleburg Eye Care practice. Their father, the late Jim Stine, had suggested the log cabin approach years ago. They located a 200-year-old cabin they liked in Ohio, had it taken apart piece by piece and transported and rebuilt in Middleburg.

A widely-respected Doctor of Optometry, Chip opened his own practice in 1989 and has been at it ever since, often collaborating with some of the top eye specialists in the region. His wife, Mary, runs the office and their long-time friend Sandra Crosen has handled the optician’s shop on the second floor for over three decades. They’re also thrilled that their daughter, Taylor, has moved east this year, and is teaching kindergarten at Banneker School.

Chip also cherishes his relationship with his little brother-despite the bunk bed boondoggle. They’ve been hanging out ever since the Stine family moved to Middleburg in 1972 when Chip was 10. The brothers and a band of buddies did everything together-mini-bikes, football, tennis-and many childhood pals still live in the area and remain great friends.

“Scott and I are a little different;’ Chip said. “Scott hunts, I don’t hunt. Scott fishes. I don’t fish. He can relax. I can’t. I swim, ride bikes, play tennis. And we both love living here. It’s so wonderful to see the people you grew up with every day:’ Little brothers included.

This article originally appeared in the Country ZEST & Style Fall 2023 Edition.